Edmund Hooper probably became a chorister of Exeter Cathedral shortly after 1560. By 1582 he was a member of the choir of Westminster Abbey. In 1588 he was appointed Master of the Choristers there, and in 1606 he became what was probably the Abbey's first regularly appointed organist. Two years later he had been elected a 'Gentleman' [lay-clerk] of the Chapel Royal choir, having been for some time before that a 'Gentleman Extraordinary' [honorary lay-clerk]. By November 1615 he was sharing with young Orlando Gibbons the duties of organist of the Chapel Royal. He was buried in the cloisters of Westminster Abbey on May 21, 1621.